Plans to turn Nairobi into international financial hub heat up

By John Oyuke

Nairobi’s vision of following the footsteps of London, and becoming a global financial centre, has started taking shape with a financial firm appointed to deliver the work — TheCityUK — seeking partners to participate in the development of the project.

This month will mark another chapter where top UK City businesses and officials are expected to receive a high-level Kenyan delegation to London to discuss plans to transform Nairobi into a world-class financial centre or destination.

The bodies appointed to deliver the work, under the sponsorship of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the Ministry of Finance in Kenya, are TheCityUK and the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

TheCityUK — an independent membership body for promoting the UK-based financial and professional services industry — said in a statement that the focus of the Nairobi international financial centre (IFC) work is to be embodied in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya.

To demonstrate its readiness and using London’s financial infrastructure as a road map, TheCityUK has now asked UK practitioners to express interest to be involved in the project’s proposed areas of development. It has identified these as, alternative dispute resolution, derivative securities, securities market and regulatory and administrative environment. Other areas are public private partnerships, experience exchange between financial and related professional services, training and education, branding, marketing and promoting and diaspora initiatives.

Areas of interest

“If you are interested in being included in this opportunity and would like to help influence its direction, please highlight your areas of interest at the link below and we will provide further information,” it says in a notice posted on its Website.

President Kibaki expressed the desire to build relationships with the UK to help develop Nairobi as an international financial centre to serve the East African region during a visit to London in July last year.

Speaking during a gala dinner he hosted jointly with The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman David Wooton, Kibaki said Kenya’s economy was growing impressively and invited UK investors to be part of country’s success.

The Mayor said he looked forward to the successful conclusion of negotiations between TheCityUK, and CMA, in support of Nairobi’s plans to develop as an International Financial Centre.

“I am delighted by this important milestone in the partnership between the TheCityUK and our partners in Kenya. Developing Nairobi’s capacity as a financial service centre will mean it is well placed to support the creation of jobs and growth for the people of Kenya and across East Africa,” he stated.

Experts say the success of the project — aligned to objectives of Vision 2030 of positioning Kenya to attract fund flows into the country to support productive economic activities — depends on the proposed 5,000-acre Konza Technology City in Machakos County that would provide the vital high speed Internet infrastructure.

Under the economic pillar in Vision 2030, the blueprint recognises six priority sectors that will help the country become a middle-income economy by 2030. Under the financial services category, the sector is expected to become globally competitive to enable it promote high levels of savings to finance the various Vision 2030 projects.



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